If you are new to Photodoto start here: Start

How to Capture Perfect Selfie: 10 Tips for Amateurs and PROs

There is no wrong way to capture a selfie. The selfie is a way of self-expression and the artistic choices vary as much as faces themselves. “Selfie” was named Oxford Dictionaries Word of the year for 2013, and it’s defined as a photo taken of oneself and shared on social media.

Photo by VIKTOR HANACEK

Photo by VIKTOR HANACEK

Taking selfies is a fun way to show your personality, confidence and fashion sense. Everyone takes selfies from presidents to Oscar winners. But don’t just point a camera on your face and shoot. There is an art of taking eye-catching selfies that your friends will love to see on their feeds. If you want to get in on the selfie trend, here are 10 tips to take the best possible selfie with your smartphone or camera.

Find a Good Angle

Experiment with different angles to show off your features. The advantage of being a photographer of yourself is that you can change the accents of a photo. To make your face look slimmer and make eyes look bigger, shoot yourself from slightly above. Stick your neck out just a little to eliminate that little bulge under your chin. If your torso is in the shot, turn your shoulder a little toward the camera. That would make you skinnier.

Change camera position, shoot, take a look and shoot again. You can spend a lot of time to find a proper angle, but after you found it all your photos will look better.

Pay Attention to Lighting

Having a good light source is an essential part of any photograph, and selfies are no exception. Use natural light. Try to take your selfie near a window or outdoors. All the skin imperfections will be seen on a photo taken in a dark room.

Photo by Chris Ford

Photo by Chris Ford

Try to keep the sun or other light source in front of you. The light will brighten and soften your features, rather than leaving harsh shadows across your face. Don’t use your camera flash if you can help it. There is nothing worse than a selfie taken with a built-in flash. It will create a forehead flare, and probably give your photo a red eye effect. So, try to avoid using it (unless your camera is more professional than a smartphone ane and it has a color correction balance mode).

Check Background

Without a doubt, you’re a star of your selfie, but this does not mean that you should ignore what is behind you. Turn around and check out your settings. Be aware of trees that could stand right after you and look like a stick out of your head. Look for some scene that could be inappropriate for your cheerful smile, like a funeral procession or burning house.

Photo by Susanne Nilsson

Photo by Susanne Nilsson

Maybe this point of the article looks obvious to you, but not for some like this girl who posted a selfie of herself smiling in front of the Auschwitz concentration camp on Twitter in June.

Think of Expressions

You just can’t go wrong with smiling. If you’re on the serious side, a cool, collected expression could also work out.

Photo by FrankGuido

Photo by FrankGuido

But anyway, your selfie should never look like you’re trying too hard. It should look like you took the selfie casually. Like you just were out and occasionally turned your camera to your face and took a photo of your happy face (and, of course, it turned out into something awesome).

Say No to Mirrors

There are a huge number of disadvantages taking photo in a mirror: the image will appear in reverse, it could turned out with a weird glare, you camera will be seen to everyone. You risk to get a distort selfie, as your mirror not always reflect back an ideal symmetric image.

Photo by Ivana Vasilj

Photo by Ivana Vasilj

Only if you want to capture a full-length photo, the mirror will work quite good. As using your arms you may capture only your head and a part of your shoulders.

Play Around with Filters

If you’re taking selfie with smartphone camera, you can do way more than just capture an image, – you may post=process it like a pro using a lot of photography apps. Step back from Instagram filters and try some new applications available around the web, for example, VSCOcam or PicLab.

Photo by vonderauvisuals

Photo by vonderauvisuals

They allow you to do more than just filter a photo, but crop it, add light leaks, textures, play around with color, lighting, contrast, and to do a lot of other things. Moreover, social media world is full of these yellow-filtered similar photos edited with Instagram. It’s time to try something new!

Follow Photography Trends

Selfies have really taken off lately, and there is nothing bad to follow new photography trends. What selfies trends filled up your Instagram feed? I’ll give you a hint: Throwback Thursdays. Due to this trend you should share a photo of yourself some time earlier, for example last week/year/10 years ago.

Photo by Camilla Soares

Photo by Camilla Soares

Of there was also one more trend called hair smile. Following it you should show off not your smile, but hair (if you consider it as your biggest asset). And don’t forget to add a hashtag, so people could find your trendy selfie.

Use Your Phone’s Advantages

Do you know that with the iphone you can also use the volume buttons on your headphone to take a photo? So you can place your phone farther away from you and capture much bigger area of settings around.

Photo by Merlijn Hoek

Photo by Merlijn Hoek

Also with iPhone’s new iOS 8 you are able to set up a timer on 3 or 10 seconds to capture perfect selfie which expands your abilities of taking a perfect full-length selfie. Of course, earlier before the update you could also use a lot of timer apps available at the web.

Stay Creative

There are so many selfie featuring subjects standing, or sitting, or even lying. Before you snap your next selfies, think of all these selfies you have seen or taken yourself and try to do something different. Of course, a straight head shot has its place, but it would never stand out.

Photo by N4n0

Photo by N4n0

Check out our showcase of great self-portraits for inspiration. You can paint your face or put a flower behind the ear. Stay creative to stand out!

When Selfies Won’t Do

“Social media is a place where real business is actually happening,” said Mr. Behr, 38. “Customers of our business follow me on Twitter, they’re friends on Facebook. If they go see the profiles of this guy in this fake photo, wearing a suit and tie, they’re going to think, ‘Ugh, that’s not who we thought he was.’ ”

New York Times made a conclusion that glamorous professional photos of you work way better on social media than selfies taken on smartphone.

Photo by iulia.pironea

Photo by iulia.pironea

However, selfies from phone will always be a part of social media branding as this content is really personal and shows real life “behind the scenes”, in a manner of speaking.

Do Not Overkill

I hope these tips will help you to capture ideal selfies. Of course, to end up with a great selfie you should practice and take a lot of photos. But don’t add each of them on your social media profiles, as your followers may think you’re narcissistic. Post only exceptional selfies that are worth to be seen. Tell me what you think in the comment field below! Looking forward for your tips and ideas.

Nancy Young

Nancy is a passionate freelance writer and blogger. She writes inspirational articles on web design, photography, and technology. She enjoys traveling, reading and meeting new people. Nancy believes in a magic of written words to inspire and motivate. Currently, she is working as a writer at PhotoBlog.
Google+